“Kill no vermin as fleas, lice, and ticks in the sight of others. If you see any filth or thick spittle, put your foot dexterously upon it.” – Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, 1640
”Never make a great display when removing hair, insects, or other disagreeable things from your food. Place them quietly under the edge of your plate.”
“Never scratch your head, pick your teeth, clean your nails, or worst of all, pick your nose in company; all these things are disgusting. Spit as little as possible and never upon the floor.”-The Art of Good Behavior, 1845
Although these rules of etiquette may seem a little outdated, good manners are never out of style. History records that a young lad named George copied, by hand, 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. Most teens would chuckle at the words and thoughts expressed in these 110 rules of etiquette. Yet, George Washington, the “Father of Our Country,” not only wrote out the rules but endeavored to live by them. Perhaps good manners are a key ingredient in the recipe of “turning out a good man.” Those who lack good manners are either unlearned or self-centered, for our manners proclaim the respect we have toward others.
In this month’s issue, we hope you will take the challenge to be “ten times better” by striving to live by the sixth rule of conduct that Washington copied in his notebook. “Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not on when others stop.” To be a “Mach Ten” teenager, work to incorporate the following standards of conduct.
1. Sleep not when others speak.
Stay awake in church and school. Your preacher spends countless hours in preparation for a sermon that takes 45 minutes to deliver. Falling asleep is an insult to all the hours he has bathed the sermon in prayer. The least you can do is stay alert, but if you want to be a “Mach 10″ teen, sit up front in every church service. Try to have “dibbs” on the front row. Keep your eyes focused on your preacher and let him see that you are behind him 100%. Work hard to rally the other teens in your youth group to sit on the first few rows to show support to your preacher. After the sermon, either write him a note or tell him how the sermon spoke to your heart.
2. Sit not when others stand.
If you see an adult standing (especially a lady), offer your chair. If you are at a church function, look around and be sure there are enough chairs to seat everyone. If not, find a chair or offer yours.
3. Speak not when you should hold your peace.
In other words, don’t talk back to any authority. When you feel that you’ve been mistreated, hold your peace. Don’t gossip and tell how you’ve been treated unjustly. If it is a major offense, get advice from a godly counselor. Proverbs 10:19closeProverbs 10:19
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (ESV) closeProverbs 10:19closeProverbs 10:19 19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (ESV) 19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. (ESV) teaches, “… he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
4. Walk not on when others stop.
Don’t try to lead your youth group; let your youth director take the lead. When on a youth activity, don’t try to be as far back as possible. Sit as close as you can to the front of the bus. Get as close as you can to the leader. Those who avoid getting close to leadership fall short of their potential. A good manner is the very best letter of recommendation among strangers and a gracious gift to family and friends. Good manners open doors that are closed to brawn, beauty, and brains. Thus, in upcoming issues of Mach 10, we hope to inspire you to take the challenge of becoming a teen that is distinctly more polished than the average Christian teenager, a teen that is ten times better. – Rules of Etiquette and Home Culture, 1886